The Saints

Saints

The Church has always venerated the saints and set them before us as men and women who lived an exemplary testimony to genuine Christian life while they were alive. They are Catholic disciples of the Lord who lived lives of virtue, faith, charity, and love.

Saints: Our Heroes in Faith

The saints provide a good and clear example for us of what it looks like to live our lives in the service of God. They were human beings like us in all things, even sin, who trusted in God and lived their lives in God’s presence. The saints are not saints because they did great things but rather because they allowed God to accomplish great things through them. Thus a key characteristic of a saint is openness to God. Saints are also models of holiness because they preached and lived the Gospel in their daily lives.

Catholics pray to the saints and ask them the mediate on their behalf because the saints are in heaven and close to God. The saints are in God’s presence now but they still remain connected to us as one community of faith. In the same way that we may ask a living person to pray for us, we can ask the same of the saints. It is important to note that we are not praying to the saints as if they have the power to grant our prayers but rather we are asking them to pray with and for us – we are praying through them. We believe the saints are true intercessors for us because they were so close to God on earth, as models of holiness, and now they are even closer to God, as witnesses in heaven. Invocation (asking saints to pray for us) and intercession (knowing that saints pray for us, even without asking) is a form of reverence for God.

Why pray to saints when we can pray to God directly? NewAdvent.org explains, “It has been clearly shown that the honour paid to angels and saints is entirely different from the supreme honour due to God alone, and is indeed paid to them only as His servants and friends. "By honouring the Saints who have slept in the Lord, by invoking their intercession and venerating their relics and ashes, so far is the glory of God from being diminished that it is very much increased, in proportion as the hope of men is thus more excited and confirmed, and they are encouraged to the imitation of the Saints" (Cat. of the Council of Trent, pt. III, c. ii, q. 11). We can, of course, address our prayers directly to God, and He can hear us without the intervention of any creature. But this does not prevent us from asking the help of our fellow-creatures who may be more pleasing to Him than we are. It is not because our faith and trust in Him are weak, nor because His goodness and mercy to us are less; rather is it because we are encouraged by His precepts to approach Him at times through His servants, as we shall presently see.

As pointed out by St. Thomas, we invoke the angels and saints in quite different language from that addressed to God. We ask Him to have mercy upon us and Himself to grant us whatever we require; whereas we ask the saints to pray for us, i.e. to join their petitions with ours. However, we should here bear in mind [St. Robert] Bellarmine's remarks: "When we say that nothing should be asked of the saints but their prayer for us, the question is not about the words, but the sense of the words. For as far as the words go, it is lawful to say: 'St. Peter, pity me, save me, open for me the gate of heaven'; also, 'Give me health of body, patience, fortitude', etc., provided that we mean 'save and pity me by praying for me'; 'grant me this or that by thy prayers and merits.' For so speaks Gregory of Nazianzus... ‘The supreme act of impetration, sacrifice, is never offered to any creature.’ Although the Churchhas been accustomed at times to celebrate certain Masses in honour and memory of the Saints, it does not follow that she teaches that sacrifice is offered unto them, but unto God alone, who crowned them; whence neither is the priest wont to say 'I offer sacrifice to thee, Peter, or Paul', but, giving thanks to God for their victories, he implores their patronage, that they may vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate upon earth...”


From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001): 
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
:


211. The doctrine of the Church and her Liturgy, propose the Saints and Beati who already contemplate in the "clarity of His unity and trinity"(276) to the faithful because they are:

  • historical witnesses to the universal vocation to holiness; as eminent fruit of the redemption of Christ, they are a proof and record that God calls his children to the perfection of Christ (cf. Ef 4, 13; Col 1, 28), in all times and among all nations, and from the most varied socio-cultural conditions and states of life
  • illustrious disciples of Christ and therefore models of evangelical life(277); the church recognises the heroicness of their virtues in the canonization process and recommends them as models for the faithful
  • citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem who ceaselessly sing the glory and mercy of God; the Paschal passage from this world to the Father has already been accomplished in them
  • intercessors and friends of the faithful who are still on the earthly pilgrimage, because the Saints, already enraptured by the happiness of God, know the needs of their brothers and sisters and accompany them on their pilgrim journey with their prayers and protection
  • patrons of the Local Churches, of which they were founders (St. Eusebius of Vercelli) or illustrious Pastors (St. Ambrose of Milan); patrons of nations: apostles of their conversion to the Christian faith (St Thomas and St. Bartholomew in India) or expressions of national identity ( St. Patrick in the case of Ireland); of corporations and professions (St. Omobono for tailors); in particular circumstances - in childbirth (St. Anne, St. Raimondo Nonato), in death (St. Joseph) - or to obtain specific graces (St. Lucy for the recovery of eyesight) etc.

In thanksgiving to God the Father, the Church professes all this when she proclaims "You give us an example to follow in the lives of your Saints, assistance by their intercession, and a bond of fraternal love in the communion of grace"(278).

212. The ultimate object of veneration of the Saints is the glory of God and the sanctification of man by conforming one's life fully to the divine will and by imitating the virtue of those who were preeminent disciples of the Lord.

Catechesis and other forms of doctrinal instruction should therefore make known to the faithful that: our relationship with the Saints must be seen in the light of the faith and should not obscure the "cultus latriae due to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit, but intensify it"; "true cult of the Saints consists not so much in the multiplication of external acts but in intensification of active charity", which translates into commitment to the Christian life (279).


|   Saint of the day   |   Patron Saints   |   How Does the Church Recognize Saints?   |
|   Relics of Saints   |   Quotes by Saints   |   Recent Saints   |   Litany of Saints   |
 

Saint of the Day

http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/SaintofDay/

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Patron Saints                                    

   Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over particular areas, conditions, and situations of life. From the fourth century, people and churches were named after apostles and martyrs. Recently, the popes have named patron saints but patrons can also be chosen by other individuals or groups. Patron saints are often chosen today because an interest, talent, or an event in their lives corresponds to a situation or area in life today. For example, St. Matthew was a tax collector when he was called by Jesus, and he is therefore the patron saint of accountants. Angels can also be named as patron saints. Patron saints intercede to God for us and help us in various situations and areas of life. They listen to our special needs and pray to God with us. They are also models for us to follow in our professions, vocations, challenges or other situations in life.

For a comprehensive list of patron saints and their causes please click on this link:
http://saints.sqpn.com/patron00.htm

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How Does the Church Recognize Saints?       

Canonization, the process the Church uses to recognize a saint, has only been used since the tenth century. It is important to note that canonization does not "make" a person a saint; it only recognizes what God has already done.

Honoring the saints was part of Christianity from the very beginning. This practice came from a long-standing tradition in the Jewish faith of honoring prophets and holy people with shrines. The first saints were martyrs, people who had given up their lives for the Faith in the persecution of Christians.By the year 100 A.D., Christians were honoring other Christians who had died, and asking for their intercession. For hundreds of years, starting with the first martyrs of the early Church, saints were named by public acclaim. Though this was a more democratic way to recognize saints, some saints' stories were distorted by legend and some never existed. Gradually, the bishops and finally the Vatican took over authority for approving saints.

The process begins after the death of a Catholic whom people regard as holy. Often, the process starts many years after death in order to give perspective on the candidate. The local bishop investigates the candidate's life and writings for heroic virtue (or martyrdom) and orthodoxy of doctrine. Then a panel of theologians at the Vatican evaluates the candidate. After approval by the panel and cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the pope proclaims the candidate "venerable."

The next step, beatification, requires evidence of one miracle (except in the case of martyrs). Since miracles are considered proof that the person is in heaven and can intercede for us, the miracle must take place after the candidate's death and be the result of a specific petition to the candidate. When the pope proclaims the candidate beatified or "blessed," the person can be venerated by a particular region or group of people with whom the person holds special importance.

Only after one more miracle will the pope canonize the saint (this includes martyrs as well). The title of saint tells us that the person lived a holy life, is in heaven, and is to be honored by the universal Church.

Though canonization is infallible and irrevocable, it takes a long time and a lot of effort. So while every person who is canonized is a saint, not every holy person has been canonized. You have probably known many "saints" in your life, and you are called by God to be one yourself.

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Relics of Saints                                 

The word “relic” comes from the Latin “reliquiae” which refers to some object, notably part of the body or clothes, which remains as a memorial of a departed saint. A relic can either consist of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint. The veneration of relics is not exclusive to Christianity but has been in use by many different cultures and religious systems. For Catholics, relics help us to honor the saints and to help keep us connected to those men and women who are our heroes in faith. The Church altar, which is the center of worship for sacred liturgy, contains a saintly relic. Also, many cures and miracles are attributed to relics, not because of their own power, but because of the holiness of the saint they represent.

Teaching of the Church on Relics

From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001)
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:

236. The Second Vatican Council recalls that "the Saints have been traditionally honoured in the Church, and their authentic relics and images held in veneration"(323). The term "relics of the Saints" principally signifies the bodies - or notable parts of the bodies - of the Saints who, as distinguished members of Christ's mystical Body and as Temples of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 3, 16; 6, 19; 2 Cor 6, 16)(324) in virtue of their heroic sanctity, now dwell in Heaven, but who once lived on earth. Objects which belonged to the Saints, such as personal objects, clothes and manuscripts are also considered relics, as are objects which have touched their bodies or tombs such as oils, cloths, and images.

237. The Missale Romanum reaffirms the validity "of placing the relics of the Saints under an altar that is to be dedicated, even when not those of the martyrs"(325). This usage signifies that the sacrifice of the members has its origin in the Sacrifice of the altar (326), as well as symbolising the communion with the Sacrifice of Christ of the entire Church, which is called to witness, event to the point of death, fidelity to her Lord and Spouse.

Many popular usages have been associated with this eminently liturgical cultic expression. The faithful deeply revere the relics of the Saints. An adequate pastoral instruction of the faithful about the use of relics will not overlook:

  • ensuring the authenticity of the relics exposed for the veneration of the faithful; where doubtful relics have been exposed for the veneration of the faithful, they should be discreetly withdrawn with due pastoral prudence(327)
  • preventing undue dispersal of relics into small pieces, since such practice is not consonant with due respect for the human body; the liturgical norms stipulate that relics must be "of a sufficient size as make clear that they are parts of the human body"(328)
  • admonishing the faithful to resist the temptation to form collections of relics; in the past this practice has had some deplorable consequences
  • preventing any possibility of fraud, trafficking(329), or superstition.

The various forms of popular veneration of the relics of the Saints, such as kissing, decorations with lights and flowers, bearing them in processions, in no way exclude the possibility of taking the relics of the Saints to the sick and dying, to comfort them or use the intercession of the Saint to ask for healing. Such should be conducted with great dignity and be motivated by faith. The relics of the Saints should not be exposed on the mensa of the altar, since this is reserved for the Body and Blood of the King of Martyrs (330).

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   Quotes by Saints

   The following quotes from the saints give us meaning and hope in today’s world. This section is not meant to be a complete gathering of the sayings of the saints but rather a sampling of simple sayings which can inspire and influence our daily lives as we strive to live out our lives as Catholics.

It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life.
-Saint John Chrysostom

God asks little, but He gives much.
-Saint John Chrysostom

What prayer could be more true before God the Father than that which the Son, who is Truth, uttered with His own lips?
-Saint John Chrysostom

You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.
-Saint Therese of Lisieux

Our Lord does not come down from Heaven every day to lie in a golden ciborium. He comes to find another heaven which is infinitely dearer to him - the heaven of our souls, created in His Image, the living temples of the Adorable Trinity.
- Saint Therese of Lisieux

Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity.
-Saint Therese of Lisieux

The Most Blessed Sacrament is Christ made visible. The poor sick person is Christ again made visible.
-Saint Gerard Majella

I see in my neighbor the Person of Jesus Christ.
-Saint Gerard Majella

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?
-Saint Gerard Majella

No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.
-Saint Ignatius of Antioch

I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.
- Saint Dominic Savio

Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a Master who pays well; who rewards even a cup of cold water given for love of Him.
- Saint Dominic Savio

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.
- Saint Gregory the Great

If we are, in fact, now occupied in good deeds, we should not attribute the strength with which we are doing them to ourselves. We must not count on ourselves, because even if we know what kind of person we are today, we do not know what we will be tomorrow.
-Saint Gregory the Great

We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear.
-Saint Francis de Sales

It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially.
- Saint Francis de Sales

Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them.
-Saint Francis de Sales

Consider all the past as nothing, and say, like David: Now I begin to love my God.
-Saint Francis de Sales

All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever had done these two things best, has made himself most saintly.
-Saint Francis de Sales

All of us can attain to Christian virtue and holiness, no matter in what condition of life we live and no matter what our life work may be.
-Saint Francis de Sales

Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.
-Saint Francis de Sales

It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a one's progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.
-Saint Francis Xavier

Charity is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with its Creator: it binds God with man and man with God.
- Saint Catherine of Siena

Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.
-Saint Catherine of Siena

The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.
-Saint Anthony of Padua

Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.
-Saint Anthony of Padua

Alms are an inheritance and a justice which is due to the poor and which Jesus has levied upon us.
- Saint Francis of Assisi

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.
- Saint Francis of Assisi

Jesus is happy to come with us, as truth is happy to be spoken, as life to be lived, as light to be lit, as love is to be loved, as joy to be given, as peace to be spread.
-Saint Francis of Assisi

To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it only for His sake.
-Saint Peter Claver

If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor.
- Saint Charles Borromeo

We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: "I will pray, and then I will understand." This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work. In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in others.
- Saint Charles Borromeo

We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment of our lives - that prayer which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him.
- Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.
- Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.
- Saint Maximilian Kolbe

For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.
- Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Prayer ought to be short and pure, unless it be prolonged by the inspiration of Divine grace.
- Saint Benedict

Those whose hearts are pure are temples of the Holy Spirit.
- Saint Lucy

Jesus Christ, Lord of all things! You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am - you alone. I am your sheep; make me worthy to overcome the devil.
-Saint Agatha

Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.
- Saint Clare of Assisi

We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend on material success; nor on sciences that cloud the intellect. Neither does it depend on arms and human industries, but on Jesus alone.
-Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.
-Saint Rose of Lima

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.
-Saint Jeanne de Chantal

We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.
-Saint Vincent de Paul

The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.
-Saint Vincent de Paul

We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.
-Saint Vincent de Paul

Extend your mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His Mercy from us?
-Saint Vincent de Paul

There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God's.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to look upon Him present within us.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you.
- Saint Thomas Aquinas

Charity is the form, mover, mother and root of all the virtues.
- Saint Thomas Aquinas

No one heals himself by wounding another.
- Saint Ambrose

Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous than any external enemies.
- Saint Ambrose

He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
-Saint Bede the Venerable

God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it.
-Saint Augustine

What do you possess if you possess not God?
-Saint Augustine

This very moment I may, if I desire, become the friend of God.
-Saint Augustine

Enjoy yourself as much as you like – if only you keep from sin.
-Saint John Bosco

Nothing is far from God.
-Saint Monica

Charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which no man is saved.
- Saint Robert Bellarmine

Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.
- Saint Leo the Great

He who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things.
- Saint Alphonsus Liguori

You either belong wholly to the world or wholly to God.
-Saint John Vianney

You cannot please both God and the world at the same time. They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.
-Saint John Vianney

Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desire, and his disposition live and reign there.
-Saint John Eudes

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Recent Saints

A list of recently named saints, from 1979-2008

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/index_blessed_en.html

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Litany of Saints

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Holy Mary: Pray for us.
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael: Pray for us.
Angels of God: Pray for us.
Abraham, Moses, and Elijah: Pray for us.
Saint Joseph: Pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist: Pray for us.
Holy prophets: Pray for us.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul: Pray for us.
All holy apostles: Pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene: Pray for us.
All disciples of the Lord: Pray for us.
Saint Stephen: Pray for us.
Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity: Pray for us.
Saint Agnes: Pray for us.
Saint Boniface: Pray for us.
Saint Thomas More: Pray for us.
Saint Charles Lwanga: Pray for us.
Ally holy martyrs: Pray for us.
Saint Augustine: Pray for us.
Saint Basil and Saint Gregory: Pray for us.
Saint John Chrysostom: Pray for us.
Saint Catherine: Pray for us.
Saint Martin: Pray for us.
Saint Patrick: Pray for us.
Saint Benedict: Pray for us.
Saint Francis: Pray for us.
Saint Clare: Pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier: Pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul: Pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth: Pray for us.
Saint Therese: Pray for us.
Saint John Vianney: Pray for us.
All holy men and women: Pray for us.

Lord, be merciful! Lord, save your people.
From all harm: Lord, save your people.
From every sin: Lord, save your people.
From all temptations: Lord, save your people.
From everlasting death: Lord, save your people.
By your coming among us: Lord, save your people.
By your death and rising to new life: Lord, save your people.
By your gift of the Holy Spirit: Lord, save your people.

Be merciful to us sinners:
Lord, hear our prayer.
Guide and protect your holy church:
Lord, hear our prayer.

Bring all peoples together in trust and peace.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Strengthen us in your service:
Lord, hear our prayer.
Jesus, Son of the living God:
Lord, hear our prayer.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, hear us.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.

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